Is it time to tweak your marketing strategies for Gen Z?

Younger audiences are more mobile, video-friendly and authenticity-seeking than their older cohorts.

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As of last year, 51% of Americans were Millennials or younger, and if you’re focused on international audiences, that percentage is even higher. And Gen Z will make up a larger percentage of that adult audience in the next decade. So is your digital marketing strategy aligned with their needs and preferences? Digital Content Next commissioned a report, Gen Z: Digital Media Attitudes, Values & Behavior, that helps evaluate this exact question.

Case in point (in their words): “Media and pop culture have a significant impact on our identity. This is especially true for Generation Z. The first digital generation — born between 1997 to 2012 — Gen Z has no memory of a pre-internet world. They are digital natives, socially driven, and multitasking comes naturally to them … Undoubtedly, publishers will have to learn how to see the world through the diverse eyes of Gen Z if they want to win the loyalty of, and establish credibility with, this generation.”

Why should I care? Gen Z is at the forefront of a generational shift from traditional media formats — text and basic multimedia — to a media diet that is more weighted toward dynamic and collaborative video. In this and other ways, Gen Z is a unique cohort that deserves particular attention in any organization’s digital strategy.

Even if your organization has a relatively advanced digital footprint, there’s a good chance that your distribution strategy is weighted toward what legacy audiences seek out. DCN’s research uncovered several areas that are particularly relevant for content marketers:

  • Gen Z is more inclined to use multimedia-heavy platforms — and use them more often per week — than older audiences. This cohort uses YouTube roughly twice per day on average, and uses Instagram, Tiktok, and Snapchat all more than once per day — much more than the “traditional” social platforms: Facebook and Twitter.
  • Gen Z is more attached to video as a medium than any other form of media. Asked which format they would miss the most if it disappeared, video outpaced social media and gaming by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Video is also more likely than not to occur on mobile phones (which was this cohort’s most valued device by more than double any other).
  • Gen Z continues a Millennial trend of preferring user-generated content to company-generated content. While a plurality of both cohorts are attracted to it because it is “more authentic and honest,” more than 30% of Gen Z respondents also believed that UGC “features people/tone I can better relate to” and is “more personal than institutional.”

What can I do next? If you notice a gap in your current outreach to Gen Z audiences, we see a few opportunities for potential improvement.

  • Evaluate your platform presence. This isn’t a call to get on every platform. But it is a call to figure out which distribution platforms provide the best opportunity for you to get in front of younger audiences (given your time, resources and expertise).
  • Dip your toes into video. No format or medium is a panacea, but if your organization hasn’t yet tried video formats, a pilot project now could make it easier to jump into some of Gen Z’s preferred platforms later. And don’t worry about million-dollar production quality — low-fidelity can be just as effective.
  • Elevate influencers in your organization. It will always be hard for brands and organizations to compete head-to-head with influencers on social platforms, but you can siphon some of that affinity by getting the experts and influencers in your organization out there both in your content and on these platforms. 

TL;DR: Just as Millennials were a bellwether for some of the major digital trends of the past decade, so too will Gen Z’s habits and preferences be an indicator of what’s likely going to influence digital marketing in the years to come.

Need to rethink your marketing strategy for emerging audience segments? Looking for a partner to help with that platform and distribution audit? Reach out to us for more info.


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